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BellaOnline's Environment Editor

Green Investing

Iím not a big player on the stock market, nor am I a financial guru by any stretch of the imagination; but I do have a little money quietly sitting in a mutual fund. Years ago at the urging of my parents I hired a financial advisor to help guide me on being fiscally responsible. I somehow was smart enough to resist the urge to shop away my earnings like most of my college friends and instead squirreled away my savings. I opened a couple mutual fund accounts but didnít question where my money was going.

Now that Iím older and with a little bit more life experience, I realize how lucky and smart I was to have heeded my parentís advice! My earnings have increased over the years, and now Iím questioning the ways I invest my hard earned wages. If Iím going to invest it has to be for the right reasons and to the right companies. Iím sure there are many like me who would like to invest in companies that are good corporate citizens!

So what constitutes Green Investing? I think it would be easier to point out whatís not green investing! Putting your money into any company that uses sweat shop labor, are environment polluters, and big oil companies. Green investing by definition is environmentally correct investing. Green investing is supporting companies that use sustainable business practices, support environmental causes such as renewable energy companies, organic agriculture, and fair trade labor.

As I began to research how I could invest my money in a more socially responsible way, I was a bit overwhelmed on the number of companies out there. This is great but it leaves you not knowing where to look or who to trust. I knew the environment agenda had finally started to hit mainstream America; but I had no idea its numbers were so high. According to Social Investment Forum, more than 2 trillion of managed money is in socially responsible companies!

ďEvidence is mounting that what is good for the environment is also good for the price of a company's stock. Contrary to the widely accepted belief that environmental regulations are a drain on profitability, research demonstrates that being environmentally effective can add value to a company, and potentially benefit its shareholders.Ē (Jackson Robinson, Forbes.com 2.24.04)

But be forewarned not all green companies make good investments. Robinson points out in the Forbes article that a good analysis is needed as well. Some research and advisory companies now use environmental performance of a company as an indicator to evaluate and rate the company.

I thought I could write an article this week saying use these investment firms, for these companies. That was naÔve and ridiculous of me! Iím still sorting through a bunch of information and besides itís such a personal thing to do. The magazine Green Money Journal is a good place to start, in fact the Fall issue, which is on sale now, is devoted to socially responsible investing. Treehugger also has some good links to information on green investing.

I will admit the process is a bit daunting, but as I stare out my window with nary a tree in sight, I pick up the phone to call my advisor. A while back I wrote an article titled Green is the New Black, well according to Wall Street, green is back to being Green!

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